Victory is what matters for Qatar, says Afif
Dushanbe: Akram Afif said Qatar may not have fired on all cylinders but they achieved their target in the 1-0 away win against Afghanistan in Group E of the Asian Qualifiers on Tuesday.
Afif scored the winning goal from the penalty spot 14 minutes from time as the Asian champions were made to work hard in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 qualification tie by a resilient Afghanistan at the Republican Central Stadium.
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The 2019 AFC Player of the Year nominee admitted that Qatar struggled but what mattered is that they won three important points.
“Winning today was very important,” said Afif. “It is more important than the performance because it was very hard for us to play on such a pitch (artificial).
“The win is what mattered for us because our opponents played in a way that made it hard for us to breach their defence."
🎥 | فيديو هدف منتخبنا الوطني الأول عن طريق أكرم عفيف في الدقيقة ٧٥'pic.twitter.com/fFEUtWFcmy— الاتحاد القطري لكرة القدم 🇶🇦 (@QFA) November 19, 2019
The win ensured Qatar stayed top of Group E, which Afif said was very important with Oman breathing down their necks.
“Things could have been very hard for us had we lost points today,” said the Al Sadd forward. “We didn’t focus on our performance but on achieving the three points.
“We had a cautious approach in the first half but we managed to achieve what we wanted in the second period. The top position in the group is very important and we are now closer to our target.”
With FIFA World Cup 2022 qualification already secured as hosts, finishing top of Group E will seal Qatar a place in the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Finals.
They still have a bit of work to do to achieve that as Oman's 1-0 win over India on Tuesday means Qatar have no room for error in their remaining matches.
They will play India when the Asian Qualifiers resume on March 26, with Bangladesh to follow five days later.
Qatar's final game will be against Oman on June 4, in what could well decide whether they achieve their target of winning the group.
Photos: Qatar Football Association
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